On Square and localization: Keep an eye on your local websites

I use Square. I love Square.

But if I were a French-speaking Canadian I might not feel quite the same. Because if you select the French/Canada option from the Square global gateway you may eventually find your way to this page:

Square French Canada home page

Note the glaringly absent image. One of two missing images on this web page (and they’ve been missing for two days). Granted, this is a relatively new localized site for Square and I’m quite sure the company is understaffed in the localization department.

But I pick on Square to make a larger point about localization. While producing the Report Card, I encountered a number of websites with mistakes such as this — mistakes that probably would not have lasted for more than a minute or two on the global home page.

All too often, localized websites do not benefit from the same attention to detail (and user testing) as the English-language websites. Mistakes I often encounter include:

  • Broken links in the global gateway
  • Missing images on local websites
  • Cropped text strings on web apps (due to text expansion after translation)
  • Untranslated text within embedded images (while the rest of the website text is translated)

Localization is all about details. Not just making sure you’ve got those details covered when you go live, but keeping an eye on those details every step of the way. Which means having staff who keep an eye on those web pages long after they’ve gone live.

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John Yunker
John is co-founder of Byte Level Research and author of Think Outside the Country as well as 14 annual editions of The Web Globalization Report Card. He is also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.
John Yunker
John Yunker

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